Sunday, January 28, 2007

You Can't Teach an Old Ovary New Tricks

"I feel so old," said my husband as we left the Chili Peppers concert Friday night. I knew exactly what he meant. We were surrounded by high-schoolers and college students who knew only the songs from the newest album (as evidenced by the enthusiastic high fives they insisted on giving each other whenever they recognized a song) and who quite obviously were more interested in smoking pot and making out than watching the show. As we walked to the car, we found ourselves using phrases that started with "Kids these days" and "Back when I was their age".

Oh, by the way, my husband is 6 years younger than me. During this conversation I teetered between being thankful that we could commiserate and wanting to smack him upside the head for having the nerve to feel old.

(Okay, 6 and a half years.)

So, yes, I feel old. I suppose working in an elementary school doesn't help either. It's been years now since the first child replied, "You're older than my mom!" upon hearing my age. On my most recent birthday, I told my age to a group of fourth- graders with whom I was having lunch. One by one, they compared my age to that of their own mothers. Each comment was like a blow to the head.

"My mama is six years younger than you." Whack!
"My mom is still in her twenties." Bam!
And the final blow...
"Why don't you have any kids yet?" Thud.

I used to say, "How old do you think I am?" when children would ask my age. Boy, have I learned not to do that anymore.

But what is really making me feel old? Yep, you guessed it. Infertility. That bitch.

Women in general are bombarded with unobtainable standards of youth and beauty. We all know about all of this... the anti-aging beauty industry, the plastic surgery, the teenage models, etc. This topic deserves a post all its own... I'll make a note.

But, if you are a woman struggling with infertility, the fear of aging is greatly intensified. We are constantly reminded that our egg supply is diminishing, and what few are there may be too old to be worth anything. We have "biological clocks" whose ticking grows louder as we get nearer to the end of our reproductive years. And, if you are infertile, the alarm is already buzzing, and buzzing LOUDLY. I'm hitting the snooze button here, but the clock is still ticking, and it's hard not to feel like time is running out.

Plus, how can you not feel old when stupid scientist fools write articles like this one? For those of you who don't want to skim the abstract for the point, let me tell you... the elderly women to which they refer in the title? Women age 40 and older.

40 may be the new 30 in Hollywood, but over here in Infertility Town, 40 is the new 75.

Plus, I have this irrational fear that IVF ages you. I mean LITERALLY ages you. A woman is supposed to produce and release ONE mature egg per month, right? So, if I am producing, say 25 eggs in one month, does that mean I lose 25 months from my life? Warped, I know, absolutely warped. This is the kind of thing I think about during my hours of lupron-induced insomnia.

I guess I can always take comfort in the words of my dear third- grade friend, Sade. When I told her that I was 32, she didn't respond right away. So I said, "I know, I'm old, huh?" She replied, "Nah, you not old, Ms. P." I was just about to thank her when she added, "You gettin' old, but you not old just yet."


Oh, and by the way, my parents were here for a lovely visit this weekend.

Yes, Mom and Dad, that's all I'm writing about it. I'm letting you off easy. It was lovely. And you gave us money.


stickybun07 said...

I used to teach in an elementary school, and was sitting in the second grade teacher's room before school on my birthday one year. She had two of her before school helpers in the room and told them it was my birthday. She asked them to guess how old I was. They guessed 52. I think it was my 23rd birthday. I'm turning 32 this year...I can only IMAGINE what they'd guess! :-)

deanna said...

"40 is the new 75"---you're so right.

My fear with IF-meds? I have this notion that by stimming up more eggs than the normal batch of one, I'm just using up my dwingling supply even quicker. Awesome.

Sara said...

Ugh. I know just what you mean. I was never at all worried about turning 30, or my first gray hair or anything else until I fell into the clutches of IF. Now every sign of age strikes me as a calamity.